The remainder of 2016 proved to be tough, but we got through it. In December, we ended up in Costa Rica. More on that later. :) But before all that, there were books.
All the books.
Naturally, there's another pile for December, and some for early January when I was dealing with post-trip bronchitis/sinus infection/the plague. But that might be too much for one go. Let's start with November first, shall we?
House of Hawthorne, by Erika Robuck: If you liked anything you had to read in high school - Little Women, The Scarlet Letter, Walden, etc. - you'll be intrigued by this book. It centers on the relationship of Nathaniel Hawthorne of Scarlet Letter fame and his wife, artist Sophia Peabody, who were good buddies with the Alcotts, Emersons, Thoreau and others. Less on drama, the plot observes the couple in their daily life, their challenges and successes, and their view of how to live. Lots of tidbits in here. One can almost see the dusty desks, fireplace and surrounding plant life that both inspired and ebbed away. Excellent read.
The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom: We start with Lavinia, an Irish orphan who can't remember much of her terrifying journey that led her to being a slave at a Southern plantation, and from there the cast of characters is plentiful and varied. Troubles are many at this house, and sometimes just when you see a potential escape, the victims and survivors seem to go the opposite direction. Lavinia's path is where many twists occur, from moving to the kitchen to learning from the white family, to a nearly destructive end. Not, however, the one you think. Educational, and worth reading to the end, particularly the note from the author.
Deadlocked, by Charlaine Harris: Picked this up for a quarter at the library book sale. Eh. It was the usual - vampires, love issues, Sookie has to clean up another mess for someone. A good little brain candy break. If you liked the True Blood series, all these are worth a read.
It Didn't Start with You, by Mark Wolynn: Whoa. This book basically states that if you're having some kind of trauma or sickness, you might take a gander into your family history and see who else had some issues at the same age or time. Super interesting concept, and it got me curious enough to dig out the ancestry pages. For instance, one example was a guy who always felt cold at a certain time at night, and was horribly depressed. Turns out his uncle had died freezing to death. Had to take it back before I was entirely done, but I think this might be a book to buy.
Belgravia, by Julian Fellowes: Do you miss Downton Abbey? Feel like you lost a friend? Then Belgravia is here to help you through this terrible time. Another family, another mass of drama polished with the thin veneer of Victorian manners and society. Of course, it's excellent. And the ending is almost as fabulous as Mary and Matthew in the snow. Almost. Go to, darling, and don't forget the sherry.
Star Wars Aftermath, Life Debt, by Chuck Wendig: Up in the top shelf of my childhood bedroom are a stack of Star Wars books that my sisters owned and I never read. Fast-forward to today, and the nerdist in me is strong, especially with the most recent movies. However, I have never read the books. This was an attempt to right that wrong, but sadly, I didn't get through hardly any of it before it was due. More research to come, there is.
The Water's Edge, by Sara Gruen: This is a slow starter, and you begin to wonder if this chick will ever get off her ass, and then she does, and watch out! It takes place during the war, which brings a unique perspective to the plot - imagine learning about the atrocities of WWII from the newspaper? I'd never thought about how that must have been. There's your typical rogues as well as very good people, and the interaction of decisions in between. Really quite liked the ending, and I re-read it almost as soon as I finished.
Day Shift and Midnight Crossroad, by Charlaine Harris: Ugh, I kind of hate myself, but these are the continuation of brain candy I promised back in October. It's a series, I found, and the correct order to read them in is Midnight Crossroad, Day Shift and Night Shift, and of course it's going to be a TV show. Is the plot genius? No. Is the writing beyond all things? Nope. But it's an easy read and kind of fun and interesting and hey, there's a witch, a very verbose cat, a vampire, a mind-reader, angels and werewolves. You know, the kind of tight-knit neighborhood everyone dreams of. Enjoy! (No, I don't know when the next one is coming out. Yes, I checked. *facepalm)
The Outlander Kitchen, by Theresa Carle-Sanders and Diana Gabaldon: Surely I've mentioned the Outlander series here? The one that takes over your life and steals the hours away, page after 700 pages? Well, this is the cookbook to take those dreams into the reality of your kitchen, albeit without the time travel and the hot Scottish guys or whatever floats your boat. And, there's a recipe index online. I made the apple pie, I think? And something else. All excellent. Although, I'd buy this one. Better to get apple pie filling on your own book rather than trying to clean the library's copy. Not that I have any experience with such things.
As I say, I have more for December - might be that I'll combine that with January. We'll just call it winter books. I still have some January and plenty of winter left, by my watch. So, we shall see. Oh, and Costa Rica. Right! I will get on that. So, there you have, plenty to read and more on the way. See you then!